Steven Tyler has followed up his well-publicized request to Donald Trump to stop using “Dream On” with an op-ed for Huffington Post about copyright law. “My intent was not to make a political statement, but to make one about the rights of my fellow music creators,” the Aerosmith frontman wrote of his request to Trump.
The rest of his article calls for copyright reform, not for him – he’s quick to point out – but for less wealthy songwriters and artists. “Everyone deserves to be able to pay their bills, support their families, and do the work they love,” he wrote. “Too many can’t because we are being shortchanged by new and old technology companies.”
Although he went on to write that he supported some new technology, he asserted that much of the problem with the way songwriters are paid comes from the government. “Seventy-five percent of songwriters’ income in the U.S. is regulated by the government?” he wrote. “Too much government intervention in art and music is a bad thing … We need change.”
As a founding member of the Grammy organization’s Creators’ Alliance, he wrote that he and more than 1,650 musicians intended to visit their local members of Congress in an effort to ask them to revise the laws. Early last year, Tyler joined a group of musicians who lobbied Washington, D.C. to choose not to enact laws that would change the power a songwriter would have over how his or her songs are used.
Tyler wrote that he also visited the Capitol and met with “a lot of important Congress members,” specifically naming Virginia congressman Bob Goodlatte, in order to air his opinions on copyright law. “Many of these Congress people I spoke to were shocked to learn that this really bothered musicians and songwriters and some even changed their views, all because we made the effort to let them know how we feel,” Tyler wrote.
The Aerosmith singer closed his op-ed with a call to arms. “We know you love our music,” he wrote. “Now is the time to show us some love by supporting the effort to reform outdated copyright laws, do away with government standard for artist compensation, and make sure creators are paid fairly when other business use our work.”
As for his relationship with Trump, the billionaire G.O.P. presidential candidate said he’d comply with Tyler’s request not to use “Dream On” at rallies. “Even though I have the legal right to use Steven Tyler’s song, he asked me not to,” Trump wrote. “Have better one to take its place!”